2018 Facebook Changes: What It Means For eCommerce
Facebook as we know it has changed.
Back in January, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its news feed algorithm to prioritize content from “friends, family, and groups.” He wrote, “As we roll this out, You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
For those of us in eCommerce, this marks a big change. Social media is arguably the easiest way for brands and customers to stay connected. With Facebook’s new focus on people, though, retailers will have to optimize their content and roll out new social tactics to break through and engage with consumers on the platform.
Now more than ever, brands will need to dig into the data on “who” their customers are and what they want to see. Social media visibility in 2018 is all about relevance, and relevance starts with content.
One way to gain visibility is to buy it. Businesses already have to invest dollars in Facebook ads to get their content in front of their audiences, and as far as we know, these ads are largely unaffected by this announcement. Advertisers who pay to boost organic content may see small negative impacts if their content did not receive enough meaningful interactions,
All in all, here are some tips to keep brands at the forefront of Facebook engagement in 2018:
Post Engaging Content That Prompts Comments
According to Zuckerberg, “meaningful interactions” mean comments, comments, and more comments. Therefore, brands need to create quality content focused on sparking conversations between users. Try including questions in your posts, or write about timely, relevant, and polarizing topics that users are sure to have an opinion on.
Avoid “Engagement Baiting”
It might be tempting to try and hack the new algorithm by subtly asking your audience to “COMMENT on this post if you like the color green!!” or something similar. Don’t. It’s not that subtle, and it doesn’t work. Users don’t appreciate being told so simply exactly what to do. Plus, it’s against the rules and will actually hurt your engagement in the new algorithm. Facebook says, “Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.” Don’t be that brand.
Make More Facebook Live Videos
Facebook loves incentivizing its innovations and will place a premium on their new Facebook Live videos. Videos are still high-value content under the new algorithm, but live videos will be even more important. In his announcement, Zuckerberg writes that “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” Live videos just make sense: this is one of the few concrete examples of content that will perform well under the new algorithm included in the announcement, so all brands should start a live strategy. Trade shows or internal company events are great places to start streaming.
Lean On Your Business Page
One thing that’s not changing in the Facebook news feed is the ability for users to control what they see first. By choosing “See First” in their news feed preferences, users can control what content makes it to the top of their pile and what gets saved for later. While brands should stop “engagement-baiting,” they shouldn’t be shy about asking customers to follow their page on Facebook. They could even remind loyal followers about the “See First” option.
Build An Influencer Strategy
With the right strategy, Influencer partnerships may be a great move for your brand. There are multi-million dollar businesses built on leveraging Instagram tactics and Influencer partnerships. They’re so successful because they drive results.
Every influencer, no matter his/her niche, has their own style and for whatever reason, that style resonates with their audience and can compel them to act. These influencers – and their audiences – are the future of organic content. Their audiences are pre-packaged, and their engagement is invaluable under these new Facebook rules.
Connecting with Influencers who have a growing audience that they truly understand needs to be a high priority. It will be the most effective way to influence consumer behavior via social media. The key is to find an Influencer that has a deep understanding of both their followers and your brand’s equity. Just picking an Influencer that has a lot of followers in your niche, telling them to post your brand or product, and tagging your account doesn’t always make a successful Influencer Marketing strategy.
The social media landscape can change in the blink of an eye. For brands to effectively leverage the platforms, they need to stay up to date and optimized for the latest trends and algorithms.
This change to Facebook may seem a bit daunting at first, but with a sound strategy and a couple tweaks, these shifts just might drive more engagement than ever.